Pinkham, Cyrus Collection

Pinkham, Cyrus Collection
Credit: Cyrus Pinkham Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Cyrus Pinkham at his 16 mm. projector.
[Cyrus Pinkham Productions] COLLECTION LEVEL RECORD, 2463
18 film reels
1937 – 1940
Gardiner, ME
Long Island, New York
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, NY
New York, NY
North Conway, NH
Malverne, NY
Credit: Cyrus Pinkham home movies. "Opening night at theater in cellar, 1938." 16 mm. film. From the Cyrus Pinkham Collection at Northeast Historic Film, Bucksport, ME. MP4 video, 1:05.
The Cyrus Pinkham Collection contains 18 reels of amateur 16 mm. shot primarily by Cyrus Pinkham between 1937 and 1940. The films record a transitional period in Pinkham’s life; he began these years in residence with his parents in Long Island, moved to New York City, and then relocated to Maine. Throughout these years, Pinkham documented many family events in New York and Maine, including the wedding of his sister, Margaret, and visits to a family house in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. To these family records, Pinkham brought a filmmaker’s attention to aesthetic and technical detail, and in many cases carefully planned the action with his subjects in advance. Pinkham also recorded his family as performers in comic and dramatic narrative shorts. His documentary essays of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and of Rockefeller Center, where he worked as a tour guide, are of interest as much for their form as their subjects. The collection also includes footage of notable figures: Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan, Lowell Thomas, Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers.
Cyrus Pinkham was born in 1915 in Rockland, Maine. He died in 1989, at the age of 74. He went to high school in Catonsville, Maryland, where he was part of the Vagabond Players, the longest continuously running Little Theater group. There he was involved in stage productions and did make-up and lighting. He built a stage in his parents' basement, which gets referred to and used as a set in the films, and had a screen for showing his films there as well. He moved to New York in the late 1930s, where he held a number of jobs from personal assistant to the president of a cigar company, to Rockefeller Center tour guide, and finally with Dobbs Hats. Around this time, his sister Margaret started The Maine Bag Company, back in Maine. It became a quick success and so to help, Cyrus and his friend Bill Waters would regularly travel up to Maine on the weekends to assist Margaret. Eventually they both moved to Maine and worked for the company full-time. Cyrus did this until his death, having taken over the business after Margaret died young from cancer. The films in the Cyrus Pinkham Collection date from this transitional period between living at home, moving to New York and then leaving the city to relocate to Maine. He didn’t make films again until the 1970s, when he bought another Bell and Howell camera and began to make films of his travels with his partner, Ned Reiner.
Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
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20 Items in this collection